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THAI POLICE CLOSE NET.

Byline: EMMA GUNBY

THAI police say they have identified a prime suspect for the murder of Liverpool graduate Kirsty Jones.

The 23-year-old, who worked as a waitress at Maranto's restaurant in Aigburth, was found dead at a guest house in the northern city of Chiang Mai on August 10, 2000.

Initially, the British owner of the guesthouse who discovered Jhe body was charged with her murder but all charges against him were later dropped.

The investigation stalled after DNA tests of 14 suspects failed to pinpoint a murder suspect.

Today, police said their search was nearing an end, but did not say what new evidence had led them to their prime suspect.

"Currently, we have a prime suspect and soon the case will be completely solved, very soon, " said Colonel Dinai Boonruang.

Dinai added that police gave two Thai men DNA tests yesterday so that they could be witnesses in the trial. Jetsada Viriyasakul, 28, and Cha Kesrachai, 26, were not believed to have killed Kirsty, who has a memorial prize named after her at Liverpool University.

The pair were believed to have been near the guest house on the night she was killed in Chiang Mai, 360 miles north of Bangkok.

Their test results will be come out next week.

Dinai declined to comment on a report in the Thailanguage newspaper, Khao Sod, that police believed the two men were very close to the killer and helped him destroy evidence.

Police reopened their investigation in January on the basis of new evidence, including DNA samples from the crime scene provided by British police.

CAPTION(S):

KIRSTY: Found dead
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 26, 2002
Words:269
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